A proposed referendum on constitutional reform provoked a heated debate at last Wednesday’s Class Rep Council, which was the second of the year.
The issue arose over the late dispersal of the proposed changes to the Students’ Union constitution, which must be sent out to class reps two days before a CRC meeting, allowing reps to propose amendments of their own.
The document outlining the changes was sent on the day before the meeting, leading class reps to reject the proposal.
This notion was supported by James Nolan, who stated that reps had not had enough time to read the document in order to fully understand what was going on.
Former CRC chair, Séan Cassidy called an emergency motion to create a CRC constitutional review committee to analyse the new draft constitution, though this was overturned as Cassidy required two-thirds support from reps by a show of hands. Some confusion surrounded this vote, however, as multiple reps believed they were voting against a detailed explanation of the motion, rather than the motion itself.
Nolan said this proposal had been taken “out of context” and blamed the confusion at CRC on the lack of advance information supplied by the SU.
Chair of CRC, Callaghan Commons said that if Nolan submits the motion on time before the next council, it will be put on the agenda and discussed then.
An emergency motion was also put forward by SU President, Dylan Kehoe, who called to put the proposed constitution to vote. This was overturned.
Further discussion on the new constitution will take place at the next CRC and following the finalisation of the draft, the council will vote to put it to a referendum.
This is one of two referendums the student body is likely to face this semester, as there may also be a vote on whether to retain membership of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).
USI President, Annie Hoey and VP for Academic Affairs, Jack Leahy were present at the meeting and spoke to the crowd about their chats for change initiative and upcoming lobbying efforts.
Membership of the USI currently costs circa €90,000, a figure outlined in the budget presented by Úna Redmond, manager of the Office of Student Life, to the council on Wednesday.
The budget is part-financed by student fees and projected that there would be 1.6 million to spend this year, an increase of €200,000 from last year. This can be attributed to the inheritance of the St Patricks College Students’ Union budget.
The Office of Student Life will receive the most from the budget, with projections reaching over half a million euro.
The Students’ Union will be allocated €305,000, with €128,000 being spent on the salaries of the five sabbatical officers. CRC will receive approximately €12,000 for training and expenses.
Also discussed was the location of CRC meetings in a motion brought forward by Séan Cassidy. He proposed that all meetings be held on DCU campus unless voted on by the council. This comes after the first meeting of the year was held in Glendalough, with a cap on the number of people who could attend.
This was supported by Simon Crean, a second year PhD student who said reps not in attendance were at an unfair disadvantage if they wanted to run for an officer or committee position.
Class reps were given the opportunity to apply for these positions and have a speech read out if they were unavailable to attend, but Crean argued that you cannot fairly represent yourself in such a manner.
“It’s going to disengage me as a person who wants to attend,” he said.
The motion was subsequently passed.
Image Credit: Laura Horan